Preparing Interview Questions

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You are asked, “do you have any questions for me?’ This is the easiest interview question out there. Always say yes. Asking questions shows that you’re interested in the job. It also gives you a chance to show your knowledge about the position, company and industry. Most important, it lets you highlight why you are qualified. You have to choose your questions carefully, though, depending on who’s doing the interviewing. An excellent question for a recruiter might be inappropriate for an executive, and you don’t want to ask your potential boss something that’s best suited for a future co-worker.

Human Resources – The “Big Picture”

It’s the recruiter’s job to identify strong candidates and guide them through the hiring process. Think of the recruiter as the “big picture” person. They can give you an overview of the company and the department as a whole. (Save very specific questions about the job for the hiring manager.) The recruiter is also the best person to answer questions about the hiring process. Some questions to ask the recruiter:

  • What do employees enjoy most about working for your company?
  • What type of employee tends to excel at this company?
  • Can you tell me more about the interview process?

Hiring Manager – The “Future Boss”

The hiring manager will likely supervise you if you get the job. They’re the most knowledgeable people about the position and its requirements. You should direct specific questions about the job, its responsibilities and its challenges to them. You may also want to ask what kind of candidate they’re seeking. Some questions to ask the hiring manager:

  • What are the most important skills for the job?
  • How would you describe your ideal candidate?
  • What’s a common career path at the company for someone in this role?

Executive – The “Expert”

Senior managers and executives are likely to be most knowledgeable about the latest happenings in their industry. If you’ll be working closely with an executive, you can ask them some specifics about the Job. But you should focus most of your questions on the future of the company and the industry. This is your chance to show off your industry knowledge! Some questions to ask a senior manager or executive:

  • How do you think this industry will change in the next five years?
  • What do you think gives this company an edge over its competitors?
  • What’s the company’s biggest challenge? How is it planning to meet that challenge?

Co-Worker – The “Straight Talker”

Some interviews will also include a meeting with a potential coworker — the interviewer most likely to “tell it how it is.” A potential colleague may be most candid about the job, its challenges and the work environment. However, don’t expect inside information and certainly don’t ask for it. Some questions to ask a potential coworker:

  • What’s a typical day like in the department?
  • How would you describe the work environment at the company?
  • What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
  • What’s the most challenging part?